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House Of Pain Wrestling Academy: Ep. 2 Review

This time last week I didn’t even know that HOP even existed, but here I am seven days on with my review of House Of Pain Wrestling Academy: Ep. 2.

Life, like wrestling, can be strange at times.

Last time out I was full of praise for this fledgling series and even though it was obvious that the wrestlers involved are far from the finished product, there was enough raw talent flying around to make me want to tune in again this week to see what else they had on offer.

So that’s what I did and with all that in mind, it’s time to lace up our boots and head to the ring for The House Of Pain Wrestling Academy: Ep. 2 Review.

Full Throttle Chmapionship: Rhy Genshin vs. Dave Leitao

Full Throttle Championship: Rhy Genshin vs. Dave Leitao

There’s a very good chance that it won’t just be the wrestlers who you’re unfamiliar with if the past two weeks have been your only exposure to HOP, the Full Throttle Championship is going to be alien to you as well.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Fortunately, it’s an easy concept to grasp. The title is contested under a six-minute time limit and if you can pin the champion before it runs out, you walk away with the belt. If not then the champ retains. It’s also a very clever idea and one that gives HOP its own identity.

Because the wrestlers are working under a time constraint there’s no room for feeling each other out and the other trimmings that go along with pro-wrestling, this is foot to the floor, balls to the wall stuff and sometimes that’s all you need.

It’s different and that’s something you don’t get to say a lot about wrestling these days.

As for the two men involved, Rhy Genshin definitely falls into the raw talent category but with more training and time in the ring, there’s enough about him to suggest that he could be a decent wrestler.

As for Dave Leitao, I like what I saw. He’s just the right side of brash and cocky to not be overtly annoying and I think The Good Christian gimmick is a brave gamble. In this day and age, people get offended by the slightest thing and I wouldn’t be surprised if Leitao doesn’t fall foul of the internet’s wraith for this somewhere down the line, but he should keep at it as it’s unlike anything that anyone else is doing in the business today.

The fact he’s pretty damn good inside the squared-circle does his case no harm either.

Winner And Still Full Throttle Champion: Dave Leitao

Big Freakin Dan vs. H-Block

Big Freakin Dan vs. H-Block

Big Freakin Dan is freakin big.

Seriously, the lad is a giant of a bloke who hits hard and is all about power, whereas his opponent H-Block is of the high flying, Lucha variety. Here are two different styles that don’t always gel well together, which is why you don’t see The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio every week on RAW, but there was nothing to worry about here as BFD and H-Block put on a great match that gets my Fight of the Night.

This was all about stiff shots, dropkicks, and sidewalk slams and was done at a frantic enough pace that the speed merchant of this dance, H-Block, looked like a whirling dervish and the powerhouse, BFD, seemed to kill his opponent every time he landed a move.

It takes a certain amount of skill to be able to pace a match correctly, too slow and the quicker of the wrestlers looks like they’re running in syrup, too fast and the strong man lumbers around the ring like The Yeti, but both Dan and Block got this spot-on, allowing them to show off their strengths and hide any weaknesses they may have in their game.

H-Block would eventually pick up the 1-2-3 but I’m hoping to see more of BFD over the remaining 9 episodes, as he’s my kind of brawler.

Winner: H-Block

Dante Durden vs. Rik Regan

Dante Durden vs. Rik Regan

Rik Regan is a member of V-Generation X, which is a play on the more famous group with a vegan slant and one of the funnier things I’ve heard in a while.

So good work there, fella.

He’s also a pretty handy wrestler and managed to go toe to toe with Dante Durden in a battle of clashing styles.

Durden is more of a technically based pro whereas Regan is pretty Smash-Mouth in my opinion, but he managed to hold his own here, especially in the opening exchanges that saw them trading mat moves

Overall, it was a decent affair that would see Durden pick up the win via submission and though I doubt this is the last we’ll see of either wrestler on the show, I’m kind of hoping that next time out The Dirty Vegan, as Tony Allen and Stixx called him, wears something a little less retina burning.

Seriously, I can still see his outfit when I close my eyes…

Winner: Dante Durden

AEW Beer

Final Thoughts

Two episodes into the series and the House Of Pain Wrestling Academy is proving to be a little gem among all this madness.

Yes, there are mistakes as you’d expect from a bunch of wrestlers learning their trade, but there’s a quality here that makes the 30 minutes a week spent in their company more enjoyable than it has any right to be.

I’m already hoping that this series does well enough that HOP builds on it and gives us another 11 episodes and if they do then they really only need to change one thing. I know that it’s hard to do in such a short format but to really push their talent they need more backstage/interview time, as that way we can get to know the Face’s and the Heel’s, what really motivates them, and it will help to push storylines forward.

But me telling Stixx how to put on a show is kind of like teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, so I’ll just finish up by saying that if you want a half-hour program that doesn’t telegraph its results beforehand, then House Of Pain Wrestling Academy should be on your watchlist.

Written by Neil Gray

SPOBS very own Mouth Of The South (West)

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